Which Illinois Animal Is Most Likely To Kill You?
If you guessed "the two-legged kind," you would technically be correct. We humans pose a lot more danger to each other than animals do, but we're talking about four legs (mostly), fur (sometimes), and fangs here.
The reason I'm posing the question is because of this morning's news about a guy in Alaska who somehow survived a vicious attack by a very large brown bear (Here's the link to the story, but be careful, some of the photos of the man's injuries are pretty disturbing). There was also a woman in Colorado who was killed by a black bear and two yearlings at the beginning of the month (story here).
When Joe and I discussed these stories on the WROK Morning Show, we began wondering:
A) why anyone would want to take up residency in a place where giant bears roam the landscape and have a tendency to maul and/or eat people.
B) what animals are lurking, crawling, flying, webbing, swimming, or stomping around here in Illinois that could and would probably kill us.
There are lots of answers to the first question, but thankfully, a few less answers to the second question.
Let's get to the obvious suspects. Snakes. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) says that we've got 40 species of snake that live in Illinois, but luckily for us, only four of them are venomous. They are the copperhead, cottonmouth, timber rattlesnake and the massasauga. You most likely won't die if you're bitten, but you will need medical attention very quickly.
We've also got populations of bobcats, coyotes, cougars, wolves, and the occasional visiting black bear, but it's been decades since an Illinoisan lost his or her life to one of those groups. There have been some nasty coyote encounters as recently as last week.
Then there are the spiders. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) says that we've got...are you ready for this number...500 different species of spiders here in Illinois. However, there are really only two that you need to worry about--black widows and brown recluses. We've also got a nasty creature called the Striped Bark Scorpion, which as the name implies, can be found near trees and wooded areas throughout the state. I've never seen one, but the IDPH says you should get medical attention immediately if you've been stung.
Finally, here are two more that you may not have thought of: deer and mosquitoes. Collisions with deer on roadways have killed and injured thousands of Illinoisans over the years, and disease carrying mosquitoes kill hundreds of thousands of people all over the world (mosquitoes have killed more humans than any other animal or insect), including here in Illinois.
Staying locked in the house doesn't seem so bad now, does it?